Sensitivity training

Every dawn we meet in the cockpit. I’m the night man so I’ll have been up since 0100 and Marce will have just gotten up from her six hour off watch so neither of us is operating at peak efficiency. Don’t get me wrong, on watch we grab catnaps in between our wakeup alarms set at fifteen minute or so intervals, just to have a look around, but there’s nothing like getting a large chunk of continuous sleep. So as I was saying our energy profiles are heading in different directions when we meet. Marce is facing a heavy load of the morning SSB nets, position reports, sending and receiving email and I’m sure I don’t know what all else. All I’m interested in is eating a little breakfast and getting some sleep, but I’ll stay up until she’s finished with her work load.

Of course we pass on wind and sea state information and any concerns we have, chief among those concerns these days is where to cross the ITCZ. Our understanding is that there’s more wind five or six degrees above the equator than below so we’re staying above the ITCZ longer than we anticipated. You know the ITCZ is that squally band of doldrums near the equator where, in days gone past, mariners used to have to dump their horses overboard because they drink too much water while stuck waiting for some wind. Sometimes one forgets what a miracle our reverse osmosis water maker is and our reconstructed water maker is doing very well. Yr. humbl. obdnt. Skpr. works where his talents lay.

Lately the mood of the Pacific has moderated and it couldn’t have come too soon. Gone are the twenty five kt winds and all those nasty nine foot, closely spaced, breaking lumps marching down on us out of north east. It’s been a real revelation to find that with the new rig we can get meaningful speed out of Escape Velocity in less than ten knots of breeze, which is all we have now, and we’re facing the doldrums of the ITCZ. Thank you, Colin Mack and the crew at Mack Sails for a job well done. So it looks like you name your poison, too much wind and waves or a light breeze and relatively flat seas. I wonder if something in-between is possible?

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  1. Looks like a close reach below the ITCZ

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